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RosemaryRosmarinus officinalis

Perhaps recognizing the protective properties of this magic herb, ancient Romans bordered their gardens with rosemary, and Arabs grew clipped rosemary hedges around their rose gardens. In medieval Europe, a branch under the bed warded off bad dreams and evil spirits (not to mention fleas). Rosemary was grown in monastery gardens throughout Europe and became an ingredient in medicinal liqueurs like Chartreuse. An influsion of the leaves in white wine was a treatment for coughs, and it was also an ingredient, along with myrtle and lavender, in the original Queen of Hungary water, which was created as a medicinal rub for paralysis (simply infuse equal parts in brandy). Combined with juniper berries, rosemary makes a nice-smelling disinfectant for the air and incense for purification. Dry some sprigs for a few days and then tie them in a bundle to make a European smudge stick. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, rosemary is used for asperging and to dress icons.

Rosemary has been involved in both funerary rites and love magic. In France, rosemary was placed in the hands of the dead. In England, because people believed that rosemary strengthened memory and its leaves are evergreen, it was the herb of remembrance--remembering, for instance, a love from which one is parted or the beloved dead. But rosemary's connection with memory goes back to ancient Greece, where students sniffed it to help them in their studies. Showing the sort of ambiguousness people feel towards witchcraft, according to American Female centaur folklore, the real witch Grace Sherwood of Virginia supposedly brought rosemary to America (Sherwood was convicted of witchcraft in 1706 but at some point was released from imprisonment and went on to own a large farm, which she left to her son when she died of natural causes at age 80). Probably because it is evergreen and so would be one of the few herbs growing in winter in much of Europe, rosemary is associated with celebrations of Winter Solstice. In much of North America, however, winters are generally too cold for rosemary to live outside. According to the poet Ovid, the female centaur Hylonome plaited rosemary in her hair. Rosemary is nice mixed with lavender, roses, and mugwort for a dream pillow, or use the leaves to stuff a poppet meant for healing. A rosemary tea is made for headaches (typical Mercury work), and this magic herb is goes into calming, purifying, or protective baths.

How to Grow Rosemary
Barely cover seeds to germinate in 2-3 weeks at room temperature. Typical germination rates for rosemary seeds are 30-50%. The seeds don't live a long time, so plant them within a few months of buying them (I get new ones every 6 months). Sow in spring and set out as transplants to full sun in spacing of 8-24" in warm, dry soil, preferably on the limey side or having some rocks. This is a Mediterranean native, so it enjoys rocky soil and dry warm. It's a great candidate for growing in a pot by the door, because it's wonderful to brush your hands along it to collect the fresh scent as you go in and out. I have mine growing in a faux urn by the back door. Rosemary gets 36-48 in. (90-120 cm) tall. It is hardy down to 0F/-18C but can be brought through a zone 6 winter if it is mulched and doesn't get too wet. Rosemary can also be propagated from cuttings. I now have a variety of rosemary that originates in Italy and is commonly grown there. It is greener than the rosemary one usually sees here. Outside of that, it has the same wonderful scent and taste.  General growing info

Rosmarinus officinalis
100 seeds $3.75

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Uses in Witchcraft & Magic:

Protection from Nightmares & Evil Spirits
Funerary Rites
Love Magic & Weddings
Healing Spells
Animal Magic
Mercury Herb

Get some dried rosemary

2010, 2018 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction without permission